It’s time to pack your hospital bag, take this advice from a mom who has been there three times. Have your bag packed by your eighth month of pregnancy, and have a list handy for last minute essentials to pack. Packing your hospital bag early will give you the stress relief you need, so when the time comes, you only have to focus on one thing, and that is welcoming your little to your family.
I have a printable below you can grab up and tape to the inside of your door so you’ll see it on your way out the door.
This pregnancy has flown by.
I feel like a giant bag of terrible mother because here I sit, 39 weeks pregnant and my son not only doesn’t have a name yet . . . but he also doesn’t have a going home outfit.
Other moms are this bad at being prepared, right?
To mask my terrible-ness as a mommy I have decided it’s about time to pack a bag for the hospital.
Before You Go Into Labor
The first thing I suggest to all mothers-to-be is an Amazon Baby Registry. This link takes you to Amazon, where you can quickly and easily create a list of things you need for baby.
After you click this link, you’ll see this:
Click “Create a new Baby Registry” to begin, and it will take you through the steps to create your own universal list that you can share with anyone who wants to help you welcome your little into the world.
Don’t want to share with anyone? That’s fine.
The benefits are still there. When you create a Baby Registry, it will ask you for your due date. After that date, Amazon will email you a completion coupon, with a percentage off everything that’s left on your list.
So fill that thing up, and enjoy your awesome two-day shipping, in your pajamas. Or soaked in breast milk, poop, and baby puke . . . It doesn’t matter, you’re at home.
Second Time Mom Hospital Bag Essentials
The difference between your first baby and your second baby, when it comes to packing your hospital bag is . . . you realize you don’t need EVERYTHING. You don’t need three onesies, or fifteen bibs, or five pairs of socks for Dad.
What a relief right? Instead of packing three suitcases of things, you can pack a medium suitcase and have everything you need.
You probably don’t feel like you need to look up every list out there, and add several extras–just in case — because you realize how short the time is that you’ll be in the hospital.
With each list I would look up, my anxiety would creep in and tell me I was forgetting something super important.
I’ve realized that it’s only a few days, in the grand scheme I probably will not need all of the things I bring.
If I need something I forgot there are stores everywhere and the hospital really isn’t that far from home.
It’s only a few days.
I don’t ever want my husband to leave me alone at the hospital so I’d rather be fully prepared, but it’s not that big of a deal if we forget something.
Let’s make it super simple, Here is a list of things for each person you’ll be bringing with you (or bringing home with you)
What Do I Actually Need in My Hospital Bag for Labor and Delivery?
It’s time to get to it, the checklist you need to have a quick and easy bag packed and ready. Here is my list of hospital bag essentials, without the fluff.
For the things listed here, you can have a separate or smaller bag with these, or have them more easily accessible, because you’ll need these first.
Identification and insurance information, or they won’t let you stay.
This might seem obvious, but I think It’s important to add to your checklist (need a printable version? I got you.
Access your checklist here:
Paperwork for the Hospital
A lot of hospitals today have an online portal where you can add all of your information, and begin the checking in process at home.
If you filled this information out at home, be sure to have any printed confirmation that they give you. You can call your hospital and see what their protocol is.
Do you have a birth plan? Have you thought out what you want or expect during labor?
These don’t need to be super specific, but it is best to add something. I find these to be most important for Dad. Of course, go through your entire plan with your spouse or birth support team, so they know what you’d like.
It’s important to remember to add this into your hospital bag, so you don’t forget.
Some things to think about for your birth plan might be things like skin to skin contact, do you want them to have bottles available, or delayed cord clamping.
If these are important to you, write them down. If a doctor signs your birth plan, it becomes their recommendation, and everyone at the hospital will be more likely to follow it.
Here is WebMD’s article about creating a birth plan: Click Here.
Something important to remember about birth plans, is they’re just a plan. Things will likely go another way, and that is okay.
Things will likely stray from your plan, but it will still be a beautiful experience.
Little things like an extra long cord for your charger — hospital beds are exceptionally far from outlets, I’ve noticed.
You’ll want to have your phone, camera (if you want, but your phone should be enough), and even a bluetooth speaker for listening to music while laboring.
Comfortable Clothes (that you don’t care about)
Labor and deliver is messy. Like, it can be so gross.
You are going to bleed a lot, your water breaks and then you have amniotic fluid all over everything, and you can’t really contain that. It will go down your legs, puddle in your shoes (I so recommend flip flops) and just get on everything.
And that’s just labor.
So. When you’re deciding what to wear during labor, pick something that’s inexpensive, you don’t care about, or you otherwise wouldn’t mind it being lost for good.
Yes. Washing machines exist. But with any crazy messes, there is a chance it won’t come out all the way.
I don’t like those odds, so keep your favorite sweatpants at home–you’ll have lots of time to wear them during your lounging days at home with baby.
When I was packing mine, I was happy to add my sweat pants with no pockets.
Here are some things that moms have LOVED having at the hospital (each one will have a link to a product example on Amazon that you can add to your wish list):
With those comfort items, you won’t have to worry about any extras with labor.
Other things to think about adding to your bag would be shampoo, extra hair ties, lip balm — you do a lot of breathing exercises– and a tooth brush. You will thank yourself later for the ability to clean your mouth after labor.
I put these extra toiletries in a plastic bag, in case anything crazy happens, it won’t ruin the rest of my things.
Your Boobs Have Hospital Bag Needs
Now that I have your attention, I can’t stress enough how important it is to pack some nipple pads. If you breastfeed, great! If not, you’re going to need them anyway because your breasts are going to try anyway.
Nipple leaks are real, and they WILL mess up your clothes. So put on your boob diapers before you leave the hospital.
I have a few favorites, I breastfed my children for a very long time, and always had leaky boobs (the blessing / torture of a baby who sleeps a little longer . . . you’ll know what I mean soon).
If you’re looking for disposable pads, I loved lansinoh. Check the price on Amazon by clicking here. I loved that they came folded in half, this made them curve to my body better, and they were super comfortable. They were super absorbent too, so even if my baby slept a little extra, I rarely leaked through Lansinoh pads.
Reusable nipple pads are amazing. I used Bamboobies, which are cute little heart shaped absorbent pads you can throw in the washer and reuse.
Some reusable pads are just bamboo, and those WILL leak. You want these, which have the waterproof outer layer.
What to Pack in Hospital Bag for Baby
These are essentials, not extra things you don’t need. For example, you might need a swaddling blanket, but you won’t need four of them. You won’t need three different cute baby hats. Don’t waste your space.
Speaking of swaddling blankets, check out my swaddling hack for older babies. You might not need it just yet, but you will soon! I swaddled my baby (safely) for several extra months thanks to this cool trick.
If you pack too much, you’ll have to spend extra time putting things away in your car later– and your house. Not to mention digging through everything to find the one thing you’re looking for.
It’s a mess. Just trust me — less is best.
Going Home Outfit for Baby
This is my favorite thing to shop for. There are so many options, and they’re all so cute! I ended up giving my first son a cute red and white striped outfit with a big blue anchor on it.
Here are a few things I found when I was looking through, click through to Amazon and check the current price:
What to Remember When Choosing a Going Home Outfit
There are a few things you’ll want to think about when you’re picking an adorable going home outfit.
- Make sure there are separated legs — so you can fit your child safely into their car seat
- Does it have a hat? — You might want a hat so they are safe and warm
- Fold Over Hands — Babies love scratching their face, and those new baby nails are basically veloceraptor claws.
- You want something warm — no matter what time of year you give birth, it will be colder out here than it is in your belly.
With these tips in mind, you’ll be sure to find something perfect for your newest addition.
Mittens to Prevent Them From Scratching Their Face
I already mentioned this, but mittens, or fold over sleeves are SO IMPORTANT for newborns. Their little claws — er– newborn nails are so small that you’re not likely to clip them just yet. So it’s super important to save their little faces from getting scratched.
I like these mittens, because they go up further onto their arm, meaning they’re harder to just throw off. Check them out on Amazon.
Photo Props for New Baby
Perhaps a cute photo prop for all those cute sleepy pictures you’ll be getting of your little one!
Another adorable thing you can do when they’re brand new is these cute “hello! My name is” swaddles, check it out on Amazon, here.
Car Seat to Bring Home Baby
If you had your children super close together, like I did, you might be able to get extra use out of your newborn car seat. My son was able to use his sister’s car seat because they were 17 months apart, and the car seat had not yet expired.
Those of us who have looked at the market recently will know how many billions of options there are out there right now. The basics of car seats for newborns are two types: an infant carrier or a convertible car seat.
Infant Carriers to Bring Home Baby In
Infant carriers are more common, and I think the better option. You can take your infant out while they’re still in their seat. You can add it into a stroller, or place in the large bottom basket of a shopping cart so they can sleep while you get things done. The cons of an infant carrier is they usually only go up to 22-30 pounds. You will have to buy another car seat within 6-10 months, usually.
Here is a great infant carrier travel system (a car seat with a matching stroller you can snap the car seat into) you can purchase on Amazon: Click here to check the current price.
Another, less expensive option is to get the infant carrier on it’s own. You can check the price of that on Amazon here.
Convertible Car Seats – They Can’t Really Go In Your Hospital Bag
Convertible car seats tend to have a wider range of weights they can support, but might not always be good for teeny babies. Here is a great convertible seat option, check the price on Amazon.
You will have to install this before you go into labor, so you can just clip baby in and leave from the hospital.
Car seats are a big purchase, so I don’t recommend just buying one without looking at reviews first. I’ve given you two option that have a lot of reviews, and good reviews, and ones that I have personally used for my own children. But I encourage you to look into car seats independently. One thing I do appreciate about car seats is everything on the market is crash tested, and they must pass those tests in order to be sold. So no matter what you choose, it will be the best option.
Hospital Bag Checklist PDF
Now, you could read this whole post, and think it’s super helpful, but that won’t help you unless you have a dedicated check list, right?
Great idea! I made that checklist for you, you can access it below. Check it out!